A Bush Grandson and Trump’s Former V.A. Pick Vie for Congressional Seats in Texas

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One comes from a political dynasty that has had its differences with President Trump, and the other is intertwined with the president. Now, both are seeking to fill a Republican power vacuum in open-seat congressional races in Texas.

Pierce Bush, the grandson of former President George H.W. Bush, and Ronny L. Jackson, the former White House physician who was Mr. Trump’s thwarted pick to lead the Veterans Affairs Department, announced Monday that they were running for the House of Representatives.

Both entered a crowded G.O.P. field: Mr. Bush in the 22nd District, which covers suburban areas south of Houston like Fort Bend County, and Dr. Jackson in the 13th District, which covers most of Texas’ Panhandle, including Amarillo. The deadline for filing for primary candidates in Texas was Monday.

Mr. Bush and Dr. Jackson are both seeking to appear on the ballot next November with Mr. Trump, whose rift with the Bushes could create an intriguing subplot in 2020 for Mr. Bush, a nonprofit executive.

Mr. Bush’s late grandfather voted for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 after Mr. Trump’s repeated taunting of Jeb Bush in the Republican nominating contest. His uncle, former President George W. Bush, did not cast a vote for either Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton. The elder President Bush even referred to Mr. Trump as a “blowhard.”

Pierce Bush, 33, the chief executive of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lonestar, made no mention of Mr. Trump in an introductory video released by his campaign emphasizing his conservative credentials. In the video, a photo montage showed Mr. Bush speaking at an unveiling ceremony for a commemorative stamp for his grandfather, who died in 2018 at 94.

Mr. Bush did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday, but he told The Associated Press that he supported Mr. Trump’s agenda.

“When you look at the alternative, first of all, how can you be anything but a supporter of the president’s policies?” Mr. Bush said. “I look forward to being a partner in Washington, and speaking of course with my own voice, but supporting the president’s agenda.”

Mr. Bush is the son of Neil Bush and shares the maiden name of his paternal grandmother and former first lady Barbara Pierce Bush, who also died in 2018. He is lesser known than his cousin, George P. Bush, who is the Texas land commissioner and whose name has been discussed for higher office.

Earlier this year, The Texas Tribune reported that Pierce Bush had been considering seeking his grandfather’s onetime congressional seat in the neighboring 7th District. But that was before Representative Pete Olson said in July that he would retire at the end of his current term, creating an open-seat contest in the 22nd District, which has been targeted by Democrats. Mr. Olson is one of six G.O.P. House incumbents from Texas who announced this year that they were not running for re-election, in what some people have dubbed “Texodus.”

Mr. Bush, who brings his family’s extensive donor network to the crowded race, said in his introductory video that it was time for new leaders to stand for conservatism that empowered all Americans and placed individuals above government.

“We face a very challenging time in our nation and are on the brink of losing a generation to an idea that socialism and free stuff are the answers for their future, but we all know that socialism has failed everywhere and everyone,” Mr. Bush said.

There are at least 17 other Republicans competing for the nomination, according to The Texas Tribune.

Abhi Rahman, a Texas Democratic Party spokesman, said in an email on Monday that the Republican primary race was “off the rails” and that the district was poised to flip.

“While Republicans are battling it out and facing down the prospects of a long and expensive primary, Democrats are gearing up to take back the district and win in the increasingly diverse Fort Bend County,” Mr. Rahman wrote.

A Texas Republican Party spokesman said the party could not take sides in a primary and referred questions to the Fort Bend G.O.P. chairwoman, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Dr. Jackson, 52, is seeking to succeed Representative Mac Thornberry, a fellow Republican first elected in 1994, in the 13th District. Dr. Jackson previously served as White House physician under Presidents Obama and Trump, and Mr. Trump nominated him to lead the Veterans Affairs Department in March 2018.

But Dr. Jackson’s confirmation bid unraveled amid accusations by onetime colleagues that he was a bully who drank too much and loosely dispensed strong drugs to curry favor with the powerful politicians and political aides he admired. Some of Dr. Jackson’s colleagues said it had earned him the nicknames Candyman and Dr. Feelgood. The White House withdrew Dr. Jackson’s nomination in April 2018.

Dr. Jackson, who faces a similar logjam of Republicans in the 13th District, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. Neither did the Potter County G.O.P. chairman, to whom the Texas Republican Party referred questions on Dr. Jackson and the race.





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